Apr. 21, 2017
Russell Westbrook had an historic playoff performance last night. The Thunder point guard erupted for 51 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists. For Westbrook this season though, this absurd stat-line is just another day at the office. Despite the jaw-dropping numbers, the Thunder lost to the Rockets 115-111. And those numbers do a good job of blanketing the struggles Westbrook endured in the fourth quarter. In the final frame, the likely MVP, was 4 for 18 from the field. More times than not he was throwing up absolute garbage at the rim. His teammates? In the fourth quarter, they shot 4 for 12. Not much better, but they were not given ample opportunity. Why? Westbrook was determined to lead his team to victory or die trying.
A common critique of the Thunder this season has been that Russ has very little help. While I was watching this game, particularly the fourth quarter, I had a thought- a very damning thought - about Westbrook. What if this man doesn't want help? What if he wants to be the man? Win, lose, or draw, he wants the ball in his hands. No matter what. If I were a Thunder fan, this would scare me. The problem is not that he doesn't have help - the man once played with KD for goodness sake- it's that he doesn't want any.